Essay: History of Inquisitorial System of China
Alford (1984, p. 1180) considers the history of the inquisitorial system of China. In particular, Alford takes a look at the operation of the traditional Chinese legal system in the criminal cases of Yang Nai-Wu and Hsiao-pai-ts’ai in late imperial China. Alford refers to the traditional Chinese legal system as ‘essentially an instrument for state control’ (1984, p. 1190).
But the winds of change have been blowing in China. As an indication of the new directions of Chinese criminal justice policies, China is a party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment that absolutely bans torture and declares inadmissible any confession obtained through torture. At the same time, China is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that guarantees the right of persons accused of a crime to a fair trial among other rights. Furthermore, China has a Criminal Procedure Law that guarantees the right to counsel and the right to active legal defense and prohibits confessions through coercion (Amann, 2000, p. 858).